About Me

Simon O’Donovan MBE has worked in NHS Wales for most of his adult life, supporting people with dementia, their carers and families and developing and improving services to benefit this client group. 

He recently retired from working as a Community Mental Health Nurse within a Young Onset Dementia Service and continues to contribute to weekly CST 'Friendship Group' sessions as a volunteer co-facilitator.


He has been keeping a weekly 'Young Dementia CST Blog' to share and archive tried and tested activities resources, with the ultimate aim of providing an 'off the shelf' resource library of weekly themed CST sessions which can be used on rotation throughout the year. 


The main aim of this website is to share experience and resources freely, in order that others can dip in and out and use some or all of the materials provided in their own CST work. Thus it is hoped, facilitating and supporting the provision of uplifting and enjoyable sessions that optimise people with dementia's quality of life.

This site is not owned by or affiliated to any organisation. It’s a personal commitment, a not for profit exchange of ideas and a resource library which aims to enable more widespread use of CST approaches for people with dementia. 

To this end, 'Guest Blogs' are VERY welcome, but bearing in mind that no images of clients are to be used without their express written informed consent.

Please note that some images are reproduced on this blog from the internet under the 'fair use copyright' principle, in that they will only be used for educational purposes with disability groups and in no way will be linked to profit making activities.


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  • Simon O'Donovan

This Week's News Round Up - Cariad Dementia Cafe

"In a world where you can be anything, BE KIND!"

November 13th is 'World Kindness Day', so we started by looking at this video suggesting ways in which we can be kind towards each other.

We asked, how will we be kind tomorrow?



Christmas decorations have been put up in shopping malls and supermarkets, despite there being 43 days to go to the big event!

We asked when members put their decorations up, as well as when they start doing their Christmas shopping?


This year's Christmas Stamps have been announced by The Royal Mail. Also a new Christmas 50p has been announced by The Royal Mint.

We discussed the price of first and second class stamps, which from Monday will be 70p and 61p respectively. Also, we noted the decline in sending letters, now that we have email and text messaging.

We remembered 'The Snowman', written by Raymond Briggs in 1978, and the movie translation of the book featuring the song 'Walking In The Air', sung by a young Aled Jones.

Here's a link to that song ...


BBC News

Next, we look at this story about Kushila Stein, age 45, from New Zealand, who this week got lost in the Aegean Sea near Crete.

During her 37-hour ordeal Ms Stein reportedly rationed a "handful of boiled lollies" and wrapped herself in plastic bags for warmth.

An experienced sailor, Ms Stein put a red bag on her head and used a mirror to attract attention.

Ms Stein was helping a British man, named in media reports only as Mike, take a yacht from southern Turkey to Athens.

During the trip, she decided to "stretch her legs" by sailing a dinghy to the island of Folegandros.

But on her way back to the yacht, one of her oars fell overboard and strong winds pushed her out to sea.

We remembered the bald New York TV detective who was always seen with a lollipop in his mouth and whose catchphrase was "Who loves ya baby?" - KOJAK


Another rescue. This time of an intoxicated man who fell onto the rail tracks at the Bay Area Rapid Transit in Oakland, California, after an NFL football game.

We watched the video and agreed, this had been a very near miss and that the dramatic rescue by a railway worker was just incredible.


Another hero was declared at this week's 'Pride Of Britain Awards'.

A man has met the family he helped save from a burning plane after it crashed on a busy road.

Daniel Nicholson, from Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, and Joel Snarr rescued pilot Stuart Morre and his nephew Jack Moore and niece Billie Manley after their light aircraft came down on the A40 in May.

All three of them survived the crash, despite the plane catching fire.


This week was Joni Mitchell's 76th birthday. Here is a photo of her with artist David Hockney.

We discussed who likes her music and sang along with one of her most famous songs, 'Big Yellow Taxi'.

We reminded ourselves the song refers to the yellow taxis in New York and was well ahead of it's time, in terms of highlighting the urgent need to look after our green spaces.



Thinking further about the climate change crisis, fires ranged in New South Wales, Australia, and in California, US, this week.

The BBC had another good news story, regarding this note left by fire fighters who had saved Paul Sefky's house from the approaching fire, but had drunk several pints of milk whilst taking shelter inside his property.


We noted that hundreds of Koalas and Kangaroos had lost their lives in the devastating fires, as well as other creatures.

We remembered that Koalas eat an exclusive diet of - EUCALYPTUS.

Lightening the mood, we watched this video of Pandas trying to climb into a hammock.

And remembered that they eat a diet exclusively made up of - BAMBOO.



Keeping the humour going, we next watched a video of this little girl with her Husky dog, trying to out-perform each other in a screaming competition.

I have watched this approximately 9,345,678 times so far today https://t.co/6ND1H1qAMF

We linked this to the song 'Me And My Shadow', sung by Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davies Jnr.



A couple of food stories next.

Morrisons announced a foot long vegan sausage roll this week, to compete with the likes of Greggs who are also marketing a similar product.

We asked who is vegan or vegetarian, or who is trying to cut down on their meat intake?

Also, why on earth would you want a food long sausage roll of any description, and who thought they would be able to eat it in one go?


We gave a thought to this story about cranberry pickers, which seemed very timely given the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are fast approaching.

The advert makes it clear that the pickers need to NOT be afraid of Wolf Spiders if they wish to be employed, as they make their home in the preferred conditions where cranberries thrive.

We asked if anyone was afraid of spiders, and if people liked cranberry sauce with their turkey (or nut loaf)?

The Independent

A metal detectorist who was searching for his friend’s lost wedding ring was rewarded for his efforts when he stumbled across a hoard of gold coins believed to be worth £100,000. Paul Raynard was on holiday when he discovered the trove in a field in Ballycastle, Northern Ireland. The lighting engineer was searching with his friend and business partner Michael Gwynne, when a third friend asked them to help look for the ring.

They had been on the hunt for two hours when Mr Raynard found the haul of 84 coins, the oldest of which dates back more than 500 years. Video footage of the moment that the 44-year-old found the haul shows the businessman pulling several muddy coins from the soil. "This is the moment we dreamed of!” Mr Raynard shouts. “There’s a f****** fortune here.”

The oldest coin is dated 1512 and was made when Henry VIII was king. Mr Raynard believes it could be worth as much as £5,000.

We linked this to our next song, from 'Fiddler On The Roof', sung by Topol, 'If I Were A Rich Man'.


BBC News

Next, we look at Andy Green's attempt to break the World Land Speed Record, which is currently set at 763mph.

His vehicle, 'Bloodhound', has already reached speeds of over 500mph in the Kalahari desert.

We watched the video and commented on his bravery.

We also remembered the World Land Speed record set by Sir Malcolm Campbell in the UK on 25th September 1924 at Pendine Sands. That record was for 146.16 mph and the car was 'BLUEBIRD'.


Going back to the subject of climate change, we paid tribute to the work of the emergency services in helping people in the North of England during the floods this week.

We had all heard the story about people trapped in the MeadowHall Shopping Centre in South Yorkshire.

We asked if anyone had been caught in a flood or had got very wet this week. (It seems that Cardiff and South Wales were not as badly affected, thankfully.)


Finally, we looked at the video of a Second World War Dakota dropping 750,000 biodegradable poppies over the White Cliffs Of Dover in Folkestone.

We all agreed that this was a very moving tribute and linked this story to the Vera Lynn song, 'We'll Meet Again'.